“Be it lakhs of senior citizens or the people with disabilities or the widows and single women or other helpless people who are struggling in their daily life”. All these needy people, especially lakhs of senior citizens, can now not only lead a dignified life but also feel financially independent. This was possible because of a humane and visionary thinking of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. He has made a provision of a monthly pension for such people, under the social security pension scheme. Immediately after taking the oath as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh about five years ago on 27th December 2017 and while presiding over the first meeting of his cabinet, Jai Ram Thakur realizing the pain of senior citizens of the state, took a decision to give pension to all senior citizens above the age of 70 years. The condition of income limit for the social security pension was removed for the senior citizen of above 70 years age. Earlier, this provision was only for the elderly persons above the age of 80 years.

This very first decision of the Jai Ram Cabinet had brought a big relief to all the senior citizens of the state, who are in their twilight of life not having any financial support and were also being neglected by their family members. Coming from a very humble background, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is always aware of the difficulties of a common man especially poor and needy people, senior citizens and other weaker sections of the society. This is also reflected in the various decisions, welfare schemes, policies and programs of the state government. Now, the Jai Ram government has decided to increase the ambit of social security pension by making the provision of pension for all the senior citizens above the age of 60 years, without any income limit. This unique decision of the state government towards the welfare of senior citizens has enabled the lakhs of senior citizens of Himachal to get a monthly pension ranging from Rs.1000 to Rs. 1700 and they are leading a respectable life. Apart from increasing the scope of pension for senior citizens, the state government has also provided huge relief to the disabled persons, widows and single women, leprosy patients and other helpless people by considerably increasing their monthly pension.

The annual budget of social security pension was increased by almost four times during the tenure of the present state government itself. The state government has increased the pension of the senior citizens of 70 years and above age, from Rs. 700 to Rs. 1700. Similarly, the pension of persons with more than 70 percent disabilities was also increased from Rs.1250 to Rs.1700. Now, about 7.25 lakh people of different eligible categories are getting benefitted under social security pension scheme across the state, on which an amount of Rs. 1300 crore was being spent during current financial year. At present, more than five lakh senior citizens, about 68 thousand people with disabilities, about 1.30 lakh widows and single women, 1482 leprosy patients and 150 transgenders are getting social security pension in the state. More than three lakh new cases of pension have been approved in the state during last four years. Bringing such a large number of people under the purview of pension during the tenure of present state government under the able and visionary leadership of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur shows their commitment towards the welfare and betterment of people.

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